EU Vice President Federica Mogherini (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Vice President of the European Union (EU) Federica Mogherini has affirmed that the EU stands ready to upgrade ties with ASEAN to the strategic partnership level.

The EU supports ASEAN’s development priorities, Mogherini, who is also EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said during a working session in Jakarta, Indonesia on April 9 with the ASEAN Secretariat.

The ASEAN Secretariat mentioned eight of its priorities, including launching the ASEAN Vision 2025, narrowing development gap, facilitating trade, developing small and medium-sized enterprises and tourism, promoting ASEAN connectivity, boosting job creation, and increasing regional collaboration to preserve and uphold ASEAN cultural heritages.

During the first year of the ASEAN Community, the bloc will strengthen links across three pillars while upholding its central role in maintaining regional peace and security, promoting dialogues and intensifying trust and understanding among countries, improving its capacity for dealing with challenges, and reinforcing ties with partners.

Mougherini also pledged her own efforts to back ASEAN in the foreseeable future.

While in Jakarta from April 8-9, she also held a meeting with permanent representative committees of the bloc.

In a recent interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, Mougherini said her visit is to reaffirm commitments reached by the EU and ASEAN last year.

The EU and ASEAN are partners in ensuring regional security and stability, as well as in the fields of economy, trade and investment, she said, adding that both sides have committed to working closely together across the board.

The EU is currently the second largest trade partner of ASEAN. Last year, two-way trade hit 201 billion EUR, up 11 percent year-on-year.

During the 2014-2020 budget period, the EU committed 170 million EUR to ASEAN, compared to 70 million USD for 2007-2013.

Both sides partnered in coping with crisis and controlling disasters as well as held the second High-Level Dialogue on maritime security cooperation in Kuala Lumpur last May.-VNA